Staff Snapshot: Laura Skowronski, AKA ‘Mama Bear’

Today, for our next Saylor.org Staff Snapshot, we chat with Laura Skowronski, our Quality Assurance and Research Coordinator.

Hello Laura!Staff Snapshot: Laura

Hi.

Let’s start with our first question: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Vermont with my parents and two siblings, both younger, a brother and a sister! We kept busy with all sorts of outdoor activities (snowboarding, skiing, sledding, hiking, river tubing, ultimate bocce ball, etc.) and took many trips to Disney World—one of my favorite places in the states! I went to Centre College in Kentucky, picking up some southern twang and a love of country music. I graduated with a Spanish major and Education minor. I used my degree to teach Spanish at a private school outside of Louisville, ages pre-school to 8th grade. I love to be active, playing sports and exploring the city. I’m quite competitive and love playing games (anything I can get someone to play with me, but especially cards).

Ohh cool! Of these different things that you do, which one is your favorite?

I love to travel and enjoy learning about different cultures. I spent my junior year of high school in Puerto Natales, Chile and a semester in college in Mexico, with some time in Costa Rica. For my most recent trip, I went on safari in Kenya, which was literally so “breath taking” that I had to remind myself to breathe. I was fortunate to meet lots of people and see all sorts of animals, including African buffaloes, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, elephants, hippos, lions (moms, babies, and dad), and on the last day a white rhino!

Wow, you really have traversed the globe quite a bit. So, what brought you to the DC Metro Area?

My boyfriend transferred from U of L Law (University of Louisville) to Georgetown Law. He decided that he wanted to study law in this international city. He invited me to join. Like I said, I love to travel, and now is a better time than any to explore a city like DC! I was worried having grown up in a town of 1,600 people that I wouldn’t be able to cut it in DC, but it’s really just a small town in big city shoes. I’ve loved my time so far. Public transportation/the ability to walk almost anywhere is my favorite and there is soooo much to do and its all (for the most part) FREE! Being on a tight budget, I’m never short on things to do here. The latest free activity I discovered was swimming/sunbathing at the free public pools!

Yes that is indeed one of the perks to DC. We have free museums, pools and so much more! What brought you to the Saylor Foundation?

My commitment to improving the structure of education and making it accessible along with connections I made during an indoor social kickball league! I ended up on the same team as David, DevonScott, and Steve. As is typical in DC, Devon and I began discussing what we did for work; at the time I was working part-time at J.Crew and looking for something with an education focus. He started explaining Saylor’s mission and I was immediately hooked. I had an interview and started the next week!

Nice so you came in at the right time! What’s your typical day like?

Well, now I’m full-time and I’m the Quality Assurance and Research Coordinator. I don’t think there is a typical day for me at Saylor. I like it to be atypical, keeps me alert and allows me to work on a variety of projects. I had been self-dubbed, and then was officially dubbed, “Mama Bear”, as one of my responsibilities is to coordinate the Research Assistants, who are the muscles of this operation. My responsibilities also include managing uploads, having a keen detailed eye on all of our courses and our website, and keeping the office fun!

Great! Any courses that you would like to recommend?

Unfortunately I haven’t completed any of our courses, yet, but our K12 courses are impressive! They are packed full of information in a variety of fun and interesting ways, and having been a teacher, include many resources I’ve shared with my Math and Language Arts colleagues! Right now I’m working my way through ECON200: Math for Economists and its proving to be quite interesting, especially because I’m a huge math nerd. I love numbers and puzzles!

Alright now onto the fun questions! What candy do you bring to our Saylor movie nights?

Puppy Chow! It’s so delicious and so easy to make. It’s a good thing to bring somewhere because it can be addictive and you can end up eating a whole bag of it without realizing!

Wow, they sound really addictive! Can’t wait to have it at the next one! Do you have a pet? If not, what sort of a pet would you like?

I have a Yorkie Poo named Lucy! She’s the biggest lover in a little 10-pound body. I refer to her as part lizard, part dog; she never stops licking people, especially when she’s being petted; it’s her way of giving back. She’s also a little smarty pants and can sit, high five, stay, stand, paw, lay, and roll over.

Cool, she really is quite smart! What is your turntable.fm handle?

fuzz the bright punk; I was given it when I first signed up and it stuck, I like it.

Creative. Unique-I like it too! What’s you favorite meal and why?

My absolute favorite meal is breakfast, there’s not a breakfast food I don’t like. When I was a kid we used to have breakfast for dinner sometimes and those were the best. To try to identify my favorite breakfast food would be too difficult because I love so many, but to name a few, I love: French Toast, Breakfast Sandwiches, BACON, Eggs (with cheese, in an omelet, with hot sauce, over easy, scrambled), and pancakes. One of the best breakfasts I can remember was a pancake with walnuts, bananas and chocolate chips from Black Dog on Martha’s Vineyard, delish! Now I make my own at home, it’s a great combination!

That sounds so good too! Wow, you’re making me hungry! Last question, what’s your message to the people?

Find enjoyment in everything you do, and be happy. On a more related note, two words: lifelong learning!

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